Integrated Family Life Management for Rural Women Project supported by Population Concern, United Kingdom (1993-1994)
Aims and Objectives :
- To sensitize the rural women, youth and mothers to various biological, socio-cultural, economic and health related issues affecting their lives through education, training and communications.
- To develop knowledge and skills on primary environmental health care so as to ensure a healthy environment ,which will enhance a better quality of life.
- To create an awareness among rural women on acquiring vocational skills with a view to promoting self-employment and leading them to income generating activities.
The centre worked with 250 poor rural women hailing from 10 villages in the Narikudi Block, Kamarajar District, Tamil Nadu,South India. 25 village women members were selected from each village and 10 women groups were formed. The selected beneficiaries were exposed to Family Life Management training, Savings and Credit management, participation in environment conservation, health training, vocational training and income generation training.
The centre designed a curriculum covering issues concerning family, economy, health, nutrition, sanitation and welfare and exposed the women to regular educational and training sessions. Training/Learning manuals were developed for all the units, which were translated in the vernacular and distributed to the beneficiaries. Resource persons from local Governmental and Non-Governmental agencies were invited to handle various topics for the training programme. Further, classes were handled with the aid of posters, slides, Video cassettes and film shows. The family life management training programme for the rural women has had a positive impact on the women, and they had gained knowledge, awareness and interest for leading a cohesive, productive and healthy family life. The members also developed a growing concern for the community and their environment and took efforts for community welfare and environment cleanliness and promotion, through knowledge sharing and participatory community work.
Another input was ‘savings and credit management programme’. All the participants learnt about various aspects concerning savings and credit management within the family. The centre organized various health care services for the rural people. General health camps, eye camps, immunization services, pre-natal and post-natal care for pregnant women and nursing mothers, health services and care for the infants , health information and education etc. Goodwill’s Animators were given training on basic health care and first-aid which had helped to meet the basic health needs of the villagers.
The centre organised career guidance and vocational training courses for the women in tailoring, soap-making, palm-leaf crafts, spinning, type-writing, printing, food preservation, nursery raising, preparing organic fertilizer and other minor enterprises. The vocational training programmes provided women with opportunities for gainful employment. The centre employed a few women who have had undergone training in our units, and job search and placement was made to a good number of our beneficiaries.
The centre gave special emphasis on organising environment education, training and action programmes which included Bio-diversity contest, plantation programme, establishment of community kitchen gardens and nurseries. Opportunities were opened wide for the rural women for securing a steady income through income generation programmes such as palm leaf crafts, tailoring, amber chakra (hand driven yarn wheel) and printing.
The programmes were successful and beneficial owing to the collaboration, participation, periodical meetings, discussions, sharing of ideas, problems and solutions among the women and with the centre. All the programmes were under the direct supervision and guidance of Goodwill Social Work Centre.
The programmes have greatly benefited the rural women in the areas of economy, health, education, employment, savings and welfare and this is recognized in their personal, family and community development. Considering the productive influence of the programmes on the women, the centre continues with these programmes and is taking best efforts for the sustainability of the project.
In order to find out the effectiveness of family life management training programme, a pre and post –evaluation research study was undertaken among the target population. A questionnaire was prepared in the vernacular covering the entire syllabus and was administered to the women, before and after the training programme. Statistical analysis was carried out to find out the impact of the training programme. It was found that the participants have gained knowledge and understanding in the areas of family life management, health, nutrition, welfare etc after their exposure to training. The results of the analysis indicated the effectiveness of the training programme organised for the target population.